Update wills after major life events to keep estate plan current

Earlier in the week we talked about how estate planning is a continuous process and that it is important to reexamine the various vehicles that make up your estate plan. In the same vein, making a will once may not be sufficient to clearly communicate your wishes. Say, for example, you made a will right after you graduated from college, leaving half of your estate to a sibling and half to a girl- or boyfriend. If you don’t touch that will again it will be the controlling will at the time of your death. Imagine if half of your estate went to a man or woman you haven’t dated since you were in your 20s while your spouse and children were left with little to nothing.

After major life events, like entering a long-term relationship, marriage or having children, it is important that people in Odessa take a look at estate planning documents. Since no one knows when he or she will die, it is crucial that updating a will doesn’t get put off until it is too late.

Unfortunately for one man, he never took the time to update his will, which means that when he died earlier this year, his will from 1990 controlled how his estate was divided. This would have been fine, except it disinherited his partner with whom he had been living since 1995. While this happened in Washington, D.C., there are many same-sex couples in Texas who could be in similar situations if they don’t update their wills.

The man’s siblings received his $819,000 estate while it appears that his partner has received nothing.

Source:ABA Journal. “Gay man asks DC court to declare him common-law husband of deceased partner,” Mark Hansen, Aug. 20, 2013